The Parramatta Eels Jersey Flegg side have put on a dominant performance to come away with a crushing 46-14 victory over the North Sydney Bears at Ringrose Park on Sunday 27 May in Round 12 of the competition.
The Eels would have been looking to back up their impressive Round 11 performance where they came away 32-24 victors last week, and forwards Sean Keppie and Stefano Utoikamanu laid a strong platform up front early, whilst back rower Dylan Clifford and lock Jesse Cronin put in tough, trademan like performances in the nine tries to three Blue & Gold victory.
The side had to deal with it’s own bit of adversity early, with Salesi Faingaa called into the halves in place of an injured Dylan Brown before kick off. William Kei made his Jersey Flegg debut on the wing whilst Steve Dresler returned from injury, his first game in over a year.
The Eels made plenty of metres to kick off the clash, and after dominating early field position, Utoikamanu broke through the Bears defence from inside the Eels half before racing away to score in the 12th minute to put the first points on the board.
The Bears struck back in the 17th minute through Matthew French to level the scores at six points a piece, before tries to Jesse Cronin and a double to Haze Dunster in quick succession saw the Eels take a 20-6 lead in no time.
Off a scrum, half Todd Sapienza found his way to the try line in the 33rd minute with a turn of pace, converting his own try from out wide to extend the lead before a late intercept try to Bears winger Corey Browne-Higginbotham saw the Eels hold a commanding 26-10 lead into the sheds at half time.
Hard running centre Tuimavave Afualo, who was given the honours of captaining the Blue & Gold, extended the lead in the 50th minute of the clash when he crossed off a short ball back on the inside close to the line to put the Blue & Gold well in control.
Keppie and Cronin’s efforts were rewarded with a well deserved rest on the bench, seeing greater minutes from the Blue & Gold bench.
Pele Vaigalu crossed in the 60th minute when he scooped up a loose ball close to the line to dive over before Utoikamanu capped off his afternoon with his second try, proving a real handful as he bulldozed his way over in the 68th minute.
Centre Noel Aukafolau crossed out wide in the 77th minute, receiving a nice short ball from half Sapienza into a gaping hole, before a try in the final minute of play to Bears Kyle Tukapua, who regathered the short kick off before showing an amazing turn of speed, saw the Eels come away with a dominant 46-14 victory.
Parramatta Eels 46 (Tries: Stefano Utoikamanu (2), Haze Dunster (2), Jesse Cronin, Todd Sapienza, Tuimavave Afualo, Pele Vaigalu, Noel Aukafolau; Goals: Ayden Carling (2), Todd Sapienza (3))
North Sydney Bears 14 (Tries: Matthew French, Corey Browne-Higginbotham, Kyle Tukapua; Goals: Kieran Hayman (1))